The Cumberland Throw

Post Game Grades – Round 11 vs Wests Tigers

 

Parramatta_Eels_logo.svg  Parramatta Eels  26

  Wests Tigers 16

 

The Good:
The Parramatta Eels got the bikkies in a mixed bag of a game; often looking like that lovable, rampaging machine between the 40m lines, yet similarly looking out of sorts in the attacking red zone.

Nonetheless a 26-4 response to the Tigers’ initial 12-4 lead is encouraging, and the 2 competition points are always very welcome as the Eels look to put their Top 4 aspirations back into gear.

Unless the Titans sign some sort of wizard between now and Sunday, for what I anticipate will be the briefest of times, the Eels have also once again regained top spot in the NRL competition.

The Bad:
The injury to Michael Chee-Kam looked particularly awful, I’ll be praying that young man is ok.

Also if you’re wondering, concussion jokes (whether about a Tiger, an Eel or any player for that matter) are most certainly not on. Leave it alone.

Aside from that unpleasantness, the first 20 minutes was once again pretty poor from the Eels as the Tigers scored in the opening couple of minutes before eventually securing the aforementioned 12-4 lead. It must have felt very much like last week’s ambush at Brookvale to almost every Eels fan in the country.

This game was always going to be a massive clash, not just because it was between two Western city rivals, but more so because of the ridiculous he-said-she-said Ryan Matterson saga throughout the week. However, other than Blake Ferguson’s incredible no try put down and RCG running a kilometre in open space, the comically slippery Bankwest surface made the game otherwise feel a bit hodge podge to me.

Despite the slew of possession, the Eels actually missed more tackles than the Tigers (31 to 24). On the other hand, the Blue & Golds only had only 3 ineffective tackles all night (a tackle where a Tigers player gets a pass away) to the Tigers’ 19 (!).

The X-Factor:
I thought the refereeing was a bit of a non-factor last night which, unless you’re Bill Harrigan, is exactly what you want in an NRL game.

The Eels turned an early game attacking deficit into a straight up possession hostage situation by the final whistle, hoarding a massive 56% of the ball, converting it into 2311 metres (to 1959m), 86% completions (to 73%) and 11 offloads (to 3).

The MVP:
I’d like to award it once again to the bloke who not only played the 68 minutes last night, but did so 5 days after playing 80 minutes against Manly. Said bloke also scored a pretty crazy long range first half four pointer.

That’s right kids, for the second week in a row Reagan Campbell-Gillard is this week’s MVP.

RCG is out there looking and ending careers like Don Corleone.

“Never go against the Blue & Gold family.”

http://www.starrpartners.com.au/office/starr-partners-auburn

1- Clinton Gutherson (c)

Fullback, Parramatta Eels

Clint Gutherson is not only an exceptional Rugby League player, he’s a terrific captain, excellent teammate and has a wonderful head of hair.

Last night the King added 16 runs (124m), two line break assists, 7 tackles and a ridiculous 3 try assists to his CV. Sure Turbo and Teddy might be more favoured custodians, but no fullback (and few players) in the NRL have an all-round game like Gutho. As it currently stands, Clint leads the NRL in All Runs, Running Metres, Kick Return Metres and

That’s outstanding from the young man as he continues the most electric run of form in his career.

2- Maika Sivo

Left Wing, Parramatta Eels

Taking back his rightful spot as the NRL’s top try scorer, Maika Sivo continues to harvest fresh four pointers in the fertile soil of Bankwest Stadium. Whilst I’ve got the stats page open, the Fijian Scud Missile also leads the NRL in linebreaks. He predictably added another 2 to that tally last night, along with 1 tackle break, 14 runs and 108 metres. Sivo now has 21 tries in 18 games at Bankwest Stadium. That’s absolutely ridiculous.

 

3- Michael Jennings

Left Centre, Parramatta Eels

Although he still almost ran for 100m, (10 runs, 95m), it was a quieter game from Michael Jennings last night. The Grey Ghost also had 1 tackle break and 19 tackles, and a sneaky 4 minute early mark last night.

The Morris Brothers and MJ have evidently found the Fountain of Youth, and be damned if they’re sharing it with anyone.

4- Waqa Blake

Right Centre, Parramatta Eels

It’s always fun to see this man in a little bit of open space, with Waqa Blake getting through 12 runs (110m), 2 offloads, a linebreak, 3 tackle breaks and 11 tackles last night. In a misplaced display of support for the injured Ryan Matterson, I hear Waqa also stole the volume knob from Russell Packer’s car stereo last night; a nonetheless touching token of his affection for his right edge partner.

5- Blake Ferguson

Right Wing, Parramatta Eels

Remember when Blake Ferguson stood straight up after being smashed by Moses Mbye, and then stared him down, ball in hand? Just when you thought that was the craziest thing he’d do last night, he later jumped 9 feet in the air like a frog and somehow still managed to put the ball down between his legs for a no try.

Outside of this image that deserves its own wing inside the Louvre, Fergo also threw in 17 runs (144m) and 3 tackle breaks in another solid outing. Last night’s haul now brings his try scoring numbers to a grand total zero tries for Season 2020, a statistic I have absolutely no issue with, but one I suspect is just eating away at him.

Also, credit to WhatsNewInTheCastle for this gem:

6- Dylan Brown

Five Eighth, Parramatta Eels

Another week, another 100+ running metre game (105) and flawless defensive performance (28 tackles without miss) from Dylan Brown last night; with the young buck also adding 10 runs and a tackle break.

7- Mitchell Moses

Halfback, Parramatta Eels

It goes like this, the fourth, the fifth; the fullback’s up and Moses chips.

I mean bloody hell Mitchell, stay on your feet, mate.

In his first game back from a calf injury and looking about as stable as a one legged ice skater, the Prince of Egypt slipped over taking a conversion, a kick for touch, and at least two other occasions in defence. It’s bizarre on one hand he’s falling down more than Pete Evans’ theories on COVID, and on the other hand scoring one of the sharpest and sweetest chip and chase tries you will ever see.

Stat wise, Mitch Moses went on to combine his banana peel act with a disappointing 2 from 5 conversions, 6 runs, a linebreak assist, a tackle break and 15 tackles. So sure Mitch was a little rusty, he was a little slippery, but there’s no doubt we were still a much better team with him running around out there last night.

8- Reg Campbell Gillard

Prop, Parramatta Eels

Running away like a moustached villain who had just tied a damsel to railway tracks, Reagan Campbell-Gillard scored one of the all-time #bigmanszn tries last night. With another 23 runs, 234 running metres, 1 linebreak, 4 tackle breaks and 34 tackles, the moustache man can not and will not be denied.

Also hats off to Panthers winger Josh Mansour for the outstanding Happy Gilmore reference below.

9- Reed Mahoney

Hooker, Parramatta Eels

After a pretty average game last week, Reed Mahoney started the game by being the man Luciano Leilua happened to run over for the Tigers’ first try. However, outside of a poor 2nd half pass for Moses whilst we were on the attack, Reed looked much more like his usual self last night; hopefully a sign of the young man rounding back into his career best form. For those playing along at home, his stats were 6 runs (31m), 43 tackles, 1 tackle break and 1 kick for 1 metre, but his best play of the night was a desperation dive for a loose ball in the second half, securing possession for the Eels in what otherwise looked like a Tigers ball.

Some say he’s cute, some say he has a baby face and others suggest that to some extent Reed’s boyish good looks make him appear a bit like a giant man-baby in a headgear. Whatever the case, he’s a vital part of the Eels machine going forward and I’m right into him.

10- Junior Paulo

Prop, Parramatta Eels

Another player guilty of an early error, the world’s largest man ended up with 20 runs (196m), 1 offload, 1 tacklebreak, 33 tackles in 68 minutes of game time. I don’t want to be dramatic, but I’m getting to the point in my life where even though I wouldn’t die for Junior Paulo’s game, I’d be willing to be at least maimed or seriously injured for it.

11- Shaun Lane

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

I enjoyed Shaun Lane getting credit for an incredible pass to Sivo for our first try, when I actually suspect his gigantic stature meant he unintentionally passed the ball over Jennings’ head to the clutches of our big Fijian winger. Similar to Reed, after a subpar game last week Lane thankfully had a solid return to his old self with 14 runs (115m), a try, a linebreak assist, try assist, 2 tackle breaks and 31 tackles. Yes, Shaun.

12- Ryan Matterson

Second Row, Parramatta Eels

Joining my wife’s constant gaze, all eyes were on Ryan Matterson in his return game against his former club last night. Instead it was all eyes looking away as our star second rower fell victim to such a nasty head knock just 15 minutes into the clash. Hopefully he recovers ok, I have little doubt the Eels will grant him all the time he needs.

If nothing else, if Matto is forced to miss next week, it’s pleasing to know that not only will Andrew Davey be available, I might even be able to get my wife’s attention during the game.

Fox League out here wondering “What’s the best way I can make fun of someone with a serious head injury?” Absolutely awful tweet above. Be better, guys.

13- Nathan Brown

Lock, Parramatta Eels

One of the more entertaining aspects of last night’s clash was watching a firey Nathan Brown go toe to toe with Tigers debutante, Shaun Blore. Although I didn’t love the look of Browny feigning a crusher injury for the penalty, his 16 runs (115m), 3 offloads and 33 tackles are always welcome at my house.

You might also remember everyone’s favourite cybernetic organism making up for an early error with a terrific hit on Moses Mbye in the 52nd minute, forcing the ball free and setting up for yet another attacking raid on a resilient Wests Tigers line. We’re a much more dangerous side with this man in our side, and I’m very much hoping his body enjoys the 10 day break before Round 12.

14- Andrew Davey

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

It feels like we’ve recently signed a pretty handy back up edge player, with Andrew Davey stepping into the gulf once again last night. AD once again impressed all and sundry adding another 8 runs (50m), 1 offload, 2 tackle breaks and 18 tackles with only one miss to his career tally last night; including yet another key offload that lead to an Eels try, his second in as many weeks. I’ll be honest with you, I wouldn’t at all be opposed to us flicking him another contract for him to fill the beloved old man, David Gower type role from the bench.

15- Marata Niukore

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

With the return of our top flight 13, it can be easy to forget the incredible contribution Marata Niukore makes to our side. Last night it was another 13 runs (94m), 1 tackle break and 15 tackles for Crash, but the very idea that he could spell any one of our starting middles with ease is no doubt one of BA’s greatest positional luxuries.

16- Stefano Utoikamanu

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

Adding a sneaky intercept to his repertoire, Stefano Utoikamanu (you, toy, car, mar, nu) added 6 runs (46m), 2 tackle breaks and 8 tackles to the team tally last night.

17- Brad Takairangi

Interchange, Parramatta Eels

I like Brad Takairangi and enjoy the contributions he has and continues to make to our NRL team. I wish to make no further comment at this time.

In wet, slippery conditions, a win is still a win.

Becoming a little bit of a mainstay in the sum up tweet position, Panther fan Jack gets it.

As touched on above, the Eels now have a solid 10 day turn around before our Round 12 clash with the Dogs; I’m just hoping the break and the calibre of the opposition don’t lend themselves to any sort of complacency against a side who always seems to give us the heeby jeebies.

Enjoy the well deserved break from Grades, and I’ll see you all then, sports fans.

 

Go you Eels,

Mitch

 

Photos courtesy of the Parramatta Eels. Stats courtesy of the legends over at Champion Data.

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Prometheus

I am really impressed with our “Headless Chooks” attack strategy in the opposition 20. If we don’t know what we are doing how can the other team. RCG is very close to obtaining statue status, another outstanding effort. Truly the buy of the year.

Colin Hussey

A hard game, but a frustrating one again, with the early leaked try and the first 1/4 looking like a gulls repeat game. While hard to see on replays what it was from Packer that sent Matto out of the game, it took at least a forearm hit to send him out of the game, for me, some of the outside comments by former players that grub needs to get a big rest from the game, send him to the U.S with a full face mask my thinking. The team responded to a match that was always going to be… Read more »

Anonymous

I don’t think I was alone in thinking what the when we signed RCG but so bloody happy to eat my words. How good has he been!!

Luke

We’ll take the 2 and take a 10 day break. A few players (Jr, N Brown in particular) look like they need a rest. Moses back seemed to settle everyone and D Brown and Reed had better games as a result. RCG has been fantastic (thanks again Panthers). AD seems like a solid cheapie back-up at this point in game 2 of his career. Gutho receiving from D Brown chiming in on the left side with Jenko and Sivo outside should be our ‘go to’ play, almost always produces a try.

David

Don’t know if fergo would agree with your last statement

The rev aka Snedden

Great game and grades are spot on. As for foxsports Twitter I thought it was very distasteful way out of Line. In future if I was the boss of Parra I’d be informing the player’s n coaching staff not to talk on Fox sports until they give Ryan matterson a unreserved apologie. After yet again another slow start we managed to fight our way back to beat a desperate west tiger’s. After hearing Brad Arthur talk about how we can’t afford to have these kinda start’s only time will tell if we improve on this. Maybe a few days off… Read more »

Last edited 9 days ago by The rev aka Snedden
G man

Look forward to reading your grades each week Mitch. Always insightful and the humorous touch makes it all the more enjoyable.
Totally appreciate the effort mate.

BDon

Not because I didn’t agree, quickly tested the RCG MVP, no one ran him to a half length. He’s in great form, the definition of doing your job. And Mitch..hodge podge..almost capped off by Stefano running 45 metres on the bell, came from nowhere, grabbed the ball in hectares of pasture, but went down in sympathy with Mitch Moses.
Against Penrith recently, West’s conceded 5 penalties and 3 6-agains before they got their first. Their technical discipline was ordinary last night, Maguire has a touch of Warren Ryan about him, don’t push the rules, shove them. They did play solidly.

Longfin Eel

We really need to look at the start of our games. Handing the opposition a tackle reset on the first set is no way to win matches. I understand that BA wants the team to settle into the game before opening up, but there must be a way to do that smarter. Too many errors in the first 20 min, but I do like the way we stayed calm and kept to our game plan. Having some experienced heads in the team really helps with this.

!0 Year Member

All the way with RCG!!!! I also was not a believer, astounded actually, that we signed him. Good on him and the coaching staff to get him back to his best. That try will live with me for a long long time. Thank you RCG.

Parramatta Tragic

I can’t ever remember a Parramatta prop running 40 metres to score a try. I can remember the League-a-thon in 1978 where there were 3 games played in one day at the same venue at Easter. Parra played Manly in the 2nd game and the Manly props combined to run the length of the field between themselves. Ian Thompson made a break and ran 50 metres then passed it to John Harvey who ran the last 50 metres to score
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parrathruandthru

Cayless did it when we smashed the sharks
I saw Stan Jurd run about 80m one night at Belmore but he didn’t score

The rev aka Snedden

Nathan cayless did it vs north Syd bears at Parra stadium.

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